Normally I’d wait for video proof but Inside Cable News claimed with unusual insistence last night that it’s true and now TV Newser is corroborating it, so obviously someone who’s in a position to know is leaking. The alleged offending quote:

Barack…he’s talking down to black people…telling n—s how to behave.

Eh. Yeah, as the boss notes, he’s a total hypocrite, but the left loves to punish conservatives for preaching virtue while occasionally failing to live up to their own standards and I’m reluctant to do the same to Jackson. He slipped, but his intent wasn’t bad — just as the New Yorker’s wasn’t, I hasten to add — and his attempt to get entertainers to rein in their N-bomb usage is salutary. Where he does go too far is in flirting with criminalizing the word. He told the Today Show two years ago that public utterances should qualify as hate speech and he’s asserted before, quite matter-of-factly, that the word is unprotected by the First Amendment, presumably per the “fighting words” exception. Somebody, quick — arrest that man.

O’Reilly was just on Shep Smith’s show talking about this, but it looks like he’s saving the tape for the Factor tonight. I’ll go watch and see if anything he said warrants an update. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview from last year of what’s sure to be Jackson’s defense: That not even he is immune from internalized degradation and the ugly “I want to cut his nuts off” thoughts to which it leads. In any case, he’s old news. Even his kid thinks so.

Update: O’Reilly tells Shep that he felt he had no choice but to address the rest of the tape now that some unnamed Internet “weasel” is publishing the details. Take a bow, TV Newser! Belated exit question: By O’R’s logic, doesn’t that give Fox an incentive to leak the tape? “Oops — it’s out there. Now we have to show it and do a whole new ratings blockbuster news cycle on it.”